Bike swaps are like treasure chests, only with more grease and DayGlo. Every year consumers flock to used bicycle flea markets to hunt for vintage gems and unload their boxes of old and unused parts. These swaps are the best place to haggle over old 105 derailleur parts, or score a box full of seat posts.
Every year, several thousand bicycle enthusiasts descend on Denver’s National Western complex for the annual
VeloSwap used bicycle flea market. The show markets itself as “The world’s largest consumer bicycling and sports expo that celebrates all things cycling.” It’s also the world’s best place to unearth goofy mountain bike technology from a bygone era (we’re looking at you, Softride). This year we headed to VeloSwap to scour the showroom floor for the weirdest and wackiest gems. Here’s the cream of the greasy, DayGlo-coated crop.
The wait If you’re a seller, then patience is key at VeloSwap. The right buyer is lurking in the shadows, ready to lowball you for that pair of stinky old Sidis. Photo credit: Fred Dreier RevX4Ever You can still find the spinning blades of doom at bike swaps across the country. We love the 1990’s Spinergy Rev-X, even if the UCI did not. Photo credit: Fred Dreier FootStrong This seller claimed that his shoes were owned by the former seven-time Tour de France champ. VeloNews could not confirm this, however the “Approx size 43” checks out. Maillot Jaune not included. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Devilish tall bike Do you want to make a splash on your local weekly cruiser ride? Are you hoping to turn heads at Burning Man? Is your power metal band going on tour? This pentagram tall bike is perfect, dude. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Tour de Trump No matter your political leaning, one must admit that this Tour de Trump jacket from 1990 has a sweet decal on the back. In case you were wondering, Raul Alcala won that year’s race. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Rollin' Coal stinks Local advocacy group Bike Jeffco is targeting the stinky and awful “Rollin Coal” prank that is common in Front Range communities. Has some jerk sprayed exhaust in your face with his modified monster truck? Here’s the number to call (*277). Photo credit: Fred Dreier Return of the Stingray The Schwinn Stingray is back. This year’s swap featured a dozen or so refurbished Stingrays for sale, and the asking prices were fairly aggressive. Should we credit the kids from Neflix’s “Stranger Things” for the newfound popularity? Photo credit: Fred Dreier Piece of history We’re not sure about the aerodynamic profile of the front and rear disc wheels. Still, this 1937 Elgin Twinbar is unquestionably a sweet ride. Photo credit: Fred Dreier One stop l'Eroica shop The popularity of the l’eroica vintage bicycle events has placed a premium on awesome old frames from the 1960’s and 1970’s. For the shopper looking to grab all of his (or her) eroica gear in one spot, here is your seller. Hairnet? Check. Vintage frame? Check. Friction shifers? Check. Bottle of booze to sooth your sore behind? Double-check. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Button power Nothing proclaims your love of purchasing used bicycle parts quite like a homemade button. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Chain jewels We cannot confirm or deny that homemade bike jewelry is what your mother-in-law wants for her birthday this year. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Veg Medal This gentleman was selling European medals awarded to members of cycling clubs. If you were wondering, Belgium did have a vegetarian cycling club in 1950. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Zinn to the rescue Does your bikepacking trek call for a river crossing? This 1998 Zinn might be for you, as the seller outfitted Lennard’s bike with not one but two life vests. I would have bought it, had the seller included an inflatable raft. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Brake me up before you go go Braking up is hard to do. Brake me to the river. Brake me home tonight. Honestly, you can never have too many brake calipers (or maybe you can). Photo credit: Fred Dreier The softest ride Suspension stem? Carbon-fiber comfort seat beam? This Softride from mountain biking’s experimental 1990’s has it all. The Softride beam design has become one of the most panned innovations in mountain biking history. We hope some lucky buyer is ready to give it a second chance at the local pump track. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Mad shocks Suspension stems are totally coming back, thanks to the plethora of new bikes built for cobbles and gravel. See, Softride was just ahead of its time. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Honesty for sale Sometimes all you’re looking for at a swap is a little brutal honesty. Kudos to this seller for abandoning the phrase “like new” for a more realistic description. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Throwback Everyday No John Tomac costume would be complete without a sweet Yeti with drop bars. This amazing rig still looks race ready after 25 years, and the DayGlo highlights harken back to simpler times. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Homemade Haggling over prices for used bike junk is stressful. Luckily some kids at this table had some homemade stress busters for sale. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Penny for your Farthing These days, no swap is complete without the requisite Penny Farthing for sale. These farthing fanatics mounted a performance flat handlebar for better farthering. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Saddle up Saddles and seat posts abound at bike swaps, and VeloGear is no different. This seller was hawking a number of performance seats, as well as a big, plush, squishy one. We’d put it on that Softride. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Falling Prices The best part of any bike swap is the wheelin’ and dealin’ that goes on between buyer and seller. Don’t like the price? Wait an hour. It’s bound to drop again. Photo credit: Fred Dreier Bike art No swap would be complete without some bike art from a local artist. The artist told us that his motivation to paint these bike images came from a broken leg, which sidelined him for for months. Photo credit: Fred Dreier